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Expert Opining on All Plaintiff Injuries Disentitles Second Defence Medical Exam

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, denying a second defence medical exam in circumstances when their first examiner opined on all the Plaintiff’s alleged injuries.
In today’s case (Monohan v. Yang) the Plaintiff was examined by a neurologist of the Defendant’s choosing.  The Defendant sought a second exam with an orthopedic surgeon arguing the Plaintiff was alleging “two distinct categories of injuries, those being neurological and musculoskeletal injuries which require both a neurological and orthopedic assessment.”.
The application was dismissed on the basis that the Defendant’s first chosen examiner opined on all these issues thus making a second exam unnecessary.  In dismissing the defence application Mr. Justice Tindale provided the following reasons:

[21]        In Hamilton v. Pavlova, 2010 BCSC 493, Mr. Justice Bracken, in reviewing the principles associated with this type of application, stated the following at paragraphs 10 through 16:

[10]      Rule 30(1) provides discretion to the court to order an independent medical examination, and under Rule 30(2), more than one examination may be ordered.  Counsel, in their helpful submissions, have thoroughly canvassed the relative authorities on this point.  From those authorities, certain principles emerge.  The case law is against a background of the rules of court, and in particular, the principle that the rules are designed to secure a just determination of every proceeding on the merits and to ensure full disclosure, so the rules should be given a fair and liberal interpretation to meet those objectives . . .

[11]      Rule 30(2) is a discretionary rule, and the discretion must be exercised judicially.  An independent examination is granted to ensure a “reasonable equality between the parties in the preparation of a case for trial” . . . 

[12]      Reasonable equality does not mean that the defendant should be able to match expert for expert or report for report . . .

[13]      A second exam will not be allowed for the purpose of attempting to bolster an earlier opinion of another expert.  That is, there must be some question or matter that could not have been dealt with at the earlier examination . . .

[14]      There is a higher standard required where the defendant seeks a second or subsequent medical exam of the plaintiff  . . .

[15]      The application must be timely.  That is, the proposed examination should be complete and a report available in sufficient time to comply with the rules of admissibility and to allow enough time for the plaintiff to assess and respond if necessary . . .

[16]      Finally, subsequent independent medical examinations should be reserved for cases where there are some exceptional circumstances . . .

[22]        In my view, Dr. Moll did fully opine on all of the physical injuries alleged by the plaintiff.  Dr. Moll gave his opinion with regard to a diagnosis, prognosis, and the causation of not only the plaintiff’s neurological complaints, but her musculoskeletal injuries.  The opinion of an orthopedic surgeon would only go to bolster the opinion of Dr. Moll.

[23]        While I appreciate the defendants may not have specifically requested the opinion that they received from Dr. Moll, he is their expert and he opined on all of the plaintiff’s physical injuries. 

[24]        Dr. Moll did raise the new issue of a psychological injury.  However, an orthopedic surgeon cannot address that issue.

[25]        For all of the above‑noted reasons, the defence application is dismissed.

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